I could hear birds flushing ahead and though I couldn’t see her, I knew the young setter was gleefully chasing them off the edge of the abandoned road and watching them glide out over the 500-foot drop off to our right.
If I slowed to a walk and looked through the trees, I could probably have seen a few of the big bomber blues that hang out on this ledge nearing the end of their downhill glide.
This is part of it. Young setters will flush birds, by accident and on purpose; unintentionally and without remorse. I have learned to accept this season as a learning experience, one where I will possibly not shoot a single bird behind this dog.
So it came as a quite a surprise when I rounded the corner and found her holding an unsure point.
I stumbled up the hill to my left and when a big blue got up, it surprised up both.
I scratched it down at 15 feet, a shot so close it wouldn’t have been a stretch for me to whiff it.
The young setter raced to the bird and pounced, excited and confused. She wouldn’t pick it up, but when I put it in my vest she simply stayed with me.
We turned for the truck, my gun broken open over my shoulder, my young setter dancing along behind, wanting nothing more than another look at her first bird.